Hawaii trip

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Hawaii trip

Postby pyrox420 » Oct 13th, 2007 at 9:24 pm

Ok... so for a last fling before my wife and i start having kids were planning on heading to Hawaii next August, staying about a week and a few days.

Soo... a few questions for you Hawaii folk:
1. Cruise or just fly to the islands?
2. How to do it on the cheap? (places to stay, transportation, activities...)
3. Island hop, or focus on 2-3 islands?
4. best way to get from island to island?
5. i want to surf, see a volcano, get smashed, lay on a beach, and do some hiking. Where should i go?
6. Travel agent, or do it myself?
7. August... is that a good time to go? (really that's our only option, but i thought i'd ask. :) )

Yea... thanks!
"You know what the chain of command is? It's the chain I go get and beat you with until you understand who's in ruttin' command here". - Jayne

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Postby Jennthrotull » Oct 14th, 2007 at 1:53 am

1 . Definitely fly - if you cruise you only get to spend a day in each place, most of the time is on the boat...unless early afternoon shuffleboard if your thing...

2. Check out Hotels.com to check out prices for room on the various islands, but don't actually book thru the site until you check the actual hotel home page. I don't know much about hotels on the other islands (except the Ritz on Maui - very nice, but don't try the chicken sandwich at the beachside bar...) We stayed one night in Hilo on the Big Island (near Volcano Park) at a place called Arnotts Lodge - nothing fancy, but it served its purpose. Plus, they run tours up to the top of Mauna Kea. http://www.arnottslodge.com/HOME.HTML.

There are a few good deals in Honolulu, including Aqua Aloha Surf hotel and a chintzy place called the Royal Grove hotel - think "that 70s show" meets waikiki. The nice thing about this place is that it is 1 block to Waikiki Beach, and each room has a full fridge and stove - which is a big money saver if you make breakfast and pack lunches every day.

Rental cars can be a little pricy, but they are worth it if you plan to drive around and explore. I usually use Alamo out here. Book early, keep checking back often - since you don't have to pay up front you can cancel and re-book if you get a better price later on.

The only pricy thing worth doing here is a Luau - Polynesian Cultural Center is the best one, but since it is run by BYU and the mormon church there are no mai tais. The second best one is Germaine's Luau. Other than that, most stuff is free or cheap to do (like the Arizona Memorial, and snorkeling Hanauma Bay). The best guide book is published by "Moon" and can be found at Barnes and Nobles (my edition has a surfer on the front)..

3. Definitely Oahu and the Big Island - any maybe Maui if you have time - though with ticket prices for inter-island flights slowly creeping up it might be cost prohibitive. The 3 big carriers out here keep having fare wars, sometimes with 1 way tickets for $1, or $7, or $19. Other time you could pay $40-80 each way per person.

4. Thanks to the stupid people on Kauai who have nothing better to do than throw their minor children into the water in front of the Superferry in protest, air travel is still currently the only way to go interisland.

5. Great hiking in Volcano park, over the lava fields. Good hiking on Oahu too, see "The Hikers Guide to Oahu." The best guide book for the Big Island is "Hawaii The Big Island Revealed" by Wizard Publications. Excellent beachside drinks and a stunningly wonderful desert called Hula Pie at Duke's on Waikiki Beach. Beautiful views and a chocolate fondu dessert at the Top of Waikiki restaurant. Surf board rentals and always beginner-sized waves right on Waikiki Beach. The North Shore is beautiful, lots of sand and coral reefs for snorkeling or diving.

6. Do it yourself. Most of the packages cost more than renting a car, buying a map, and paying for any admission charges.

7. August is okay - it is kinda the end of the tourist season. September is really the time to get good deals. A friend of mine's parents paid $800 a piece for airfare from the east coast plus 10 nights at a nice hotel.

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Postby rekloose-[PUPPY] » Oct 14th, 2007 at 4:33 pm

On the N. Shore you can rent a private room at The Backpackers Hostel for pretty cheap. It was around $60 for the room back when I was there a few years ago.

Oahu has great hiking, but for volcanoes and lava flows definitely head out to the big island. For a very nice place to stay (and they also have very affordable day tours), check out Abbot's (sp) in Hilo.

If you want to see black-sand beaches and less people, more natural beauty, the more local Kuai is the place to go ...

Here are my pics from when I went: http://www.sinto.ws/hawaii/

For surfing: Waikiki. Get a longboard and fool around there (the breaks for tourists are Queens and Canoes). Don't try to surf anywhere else unless you have some experience. Don't try surfing or body surfing at Sandy's unless you want your spine crushed :)

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Postby EatMoreLead » Oct 15th, 2007 at 10:12 am

these books are the single best resource for vacationing to HI:


My wife and I spent 8 days in Kauai about 7 years ago and it was the most incredible vacation of our life. Only thing I would do different is stay 10 days, as we missed a couple things. We island cruise hopped for our honeymoon in Carribbean, it was nice, but cruising is horrible way to get feel for a place, and you only go ashore from 8am-3pm. We decided to do the time share presentation thing in Kauai to save some $$, and that turned out to be a funny adventure, as we ended up switching after 1 night in a bug infested rathole (funny how internet site looked so different). We switched from Princeville to the main town and the big Marriott, and although it was not adventuresome lodging, it was quiet and plush, and was a great homebase for next 6 days.

I rent cars about 4-5 times a year, and have used hotwire.com almost exclusively the last 4 years for rental cars. I like to know what hotel I'm staying in, and I am particular about flights, so I would never use priceline or hotwire for those, but hotwire uses only avis, hertz or budget, no cheap, poor service companies (sorry Jen, but Alamo sucks), and they are usually $14-21/day for FL & CA and $25-29/day for WA or CO.

Whereever you go, have fun, HI rocks!
EatMoreLead aka EML

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Postby Jennthrotull » Nov 2nd, 2007 at 10:17 pm

The thing about renting cars in Hawaii - everyone from the guy washing the cars to the site manager is local, so customer service is exactly the same no matter where you rent from. Never make the mistake out here that you can apply "mainland standards" to anything or anyone in Hawaii - you might as well be traveling to another country. Alamo tends to be a better option here because you can rent a decent size car, or even SUV, for the same price as other companies out here chage for a compact car. Plan to spend $30 or so per day, plus all the taxes and fees. And consider paying for their insurance - breaking into rental cars is the official state pastime. And people here can't park for shit - a fair amount of "bumper parking" occurs. My new car also has dings from other people opening their doors a little too enthusiastically (the fact that so much of the population is morbidly obese and can barely exit their vehicles with the door open all the way probably contributes). We almost got screwed when the lock was punched out in my parents rental car - luckily my insurance company pursueded them it was not worth their time to come after me for it.

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